LUBBOCK, Texas — While the investigation of Level Nightclub remains active, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced on Monday the club would be suspended for 90 days.
Prior to the announcement, the bar had been shut down for seven days. The shut down comes after two people were killed Jan. 1.
This is the longest period of time a club has been shut down in the state of Texas, as well as one of the first times TABC has done so, according to Chris Porter, public information officer for TABC.
“We are currently investigating three separate–what we call breaches of the peace–which essentially includes any kind of violent incidents that results in either injury or death,” Porter said.
House Bill 1545 allows the TABC to enforce the suspension. Prior to the bill, TABC could only suspend a permit/license for seven days. The bill was passed the most recent legislative session, and became effective Sept. 1, 2019.
“Any time TABC deems there to be a public safety risk with a club remaining operational, we can close that club for up to 90 days in order to prevent further risks to public safety,” Porter said. “
House Bill 1545 allows TABC to issue an emergency order without a hearing, and suspend a permit or license for no more than 90 days.
“And to give our officers and our local police a chance to investigate the scene without fear of retaliation or danger,” Porter said.
The only other time the new law has been enforced is for a club in Austin, Texas. The club has been suspended for 60 days.
“Also had a shooting event in Austin on January first,” Porter said.
Robert Whitt, manager of Texas Discount Furniture, also located in the Depot District, said he is on the fence about the club being shut down for a period of time.
“I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I think that this area is gonna have that kind of stuff,” Whitt said. “We are gonna have crime in places where you’re drinking.”
Porter said there are several outcomes following the 90 day suspension.
“It could open up again at the end of the ninety day suspension,” Porter said. “Of course, if the investigation is complete, and we have sufficient evidence of wrong-doing, then TABC could take further action and either temporarily suspend them for longer period of time or cancel the permit outright.”
Porter said TABC is conducting their own investigation alongside the Lubbock Police Department. He also said they are working with the permittee to make sure they are compliant.
Persons with information are asked to call Crime Line at 806-741-1000 with information pertaining to the shooting.